Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.

Archive for November, 2001

Peer-to-Peer: Role in Identity Management

November 02, 2001 By: Andre Category: Musings

We’ve heard a lot about P2P lately, and the ramifications of a network where the computational power is completely distributed seems like a fascinating prospect, however, how many services do we see that are truly P2P outside of file sharing? This short essay speaks to the potential of P2P as the foundation for identity management, probably one of the most important components of our future access to a growing number of web services.

P2P and Identity Management

November 02, 2001 By: Andre Category: Musings

by Andre Durand

Identity management and the discussion of Microsoft’s plans to become the default trusted host of ones identity (MS Passport) in their new .Net web services strategy is certainly a hot topic amongst service providers and carriers who today manage gateway services to the Internet, and see losing this key strategic component as unacceptable. Having identified a motivation for major ‘gateway’ service providers (ISPs) to utilize alternative means of identity management while focusing on a different yet related topic having to do with presence, I proposed the concept of leveraging extensions to LDAP to capture the opportunity to distribute web services identity management and presence.

At a high level, this concept makes a lot of business sense, after all, LDAP today manages Intranet (internal network) access to applications and services, why not extend the protocol to accommodate external web services (Internet services), and provide a migration path for existing service providers that provide SMTP, Web and other services through LDAP?

Now I’d like to take that concept even one step further, extending the concept of distributed identity management to an extreme scenario, peer identity management. The motivational case for this is simple, the person I trust the most is myself, why should I not have an ability to host and manage my own identity? In this scenario, trusted hosting of identity is not a default model, but a backup model, where identity is first managed by the most granular component of network, a dedicated or even dynamically discovered node or “peer” on a network, and secondarily managed upstream by a trusted host of my selection.

Proponents of a centralized approach to identity management (ie. Microsoft) would argue that highly specialized service providers can do a better job hosting identity, and I agree that operationally and logistically, this is a true statement. But the question is not whether or not they “can” do a better job, or even whether they are more convenient, which is no doubt the foundation for any Microsoft assumption of dominance in this emerging opportunity, but a question of choice. Correctly structured, a system and protocol for peer based identity management would not limit the opportunity for an individual to select a trusted host, or even multiple trusted hosts.

I propose, therefore, that any identity management system or protocol should first allow me to create and host my own identity. Other peer’s or web services would then have an ability to discover my identity by first querying my node, and secondarily querying my trusted identity host. Starting with the distribution of identity management, one could construct an entire web services model, based first on the principles of maximum distribution (P2P) and secondarily relying upon trusted hosts of services or data.

See Also:

ERROR (ping identity bill of rights and principles)

ERROR (ping digital identity)

Peer-to-Peer: A Worthy Pursuit

November 01, 2001 By: Andre Category: Musings

“P2P”… it’s not just a hip new acronym for the latest new computing model, but the foundation for our ability to communicate freely, without even the possibility of manipulation or central control.

Peer-to-Peer: A Worthy Pursuit

November 01, 2001 By: Andre Category: Musings

By Andre Durand

“P2P”, it’s not just a nifty new acronym for the latest new computing paradigm, but the computing equivalent of an operating system inherently immune to attack, manipulation and control which would in any way limit our restrict or freedom to communicate.

I’ve followed the outskirts of the peer-to-peer computing conversation for the past year, commenting at times for journalists on Jabber’s role in the emerging P2P space, and drawing parallels to the well known oscillation of client/server & terminal/host computing, but never before have I internalized the true importance of this concept as I have this morning.

Thought leaders and visionaries such as Tim O’Reilly amongst others have spoken about the importance of keeping the Internet distributed and free from any one central entity or control that would have a capability of manipulating or otherwise capitalizing it in ways contrary to our collective ability to use it as a medium to freely communicate. Only this morning did I come to fully appreciate the importance of these statements, and the role and importance of peer-to-peer computing in ensuring that we, as individuals, maintain our freedom to communicate across cultural, political, social and religious boundaries.

If you take as a truism the statement, “Any system that can be abused will,” then it follows that where interests are driven by needs or desires which run contrary to a common good (a freedom to communicate), the system will be abused.

As I read the NY Times this morning and translate the governments actions to prevent terrorism into similar computing strategies inherently and architecturally designed to thwart ‘terrorist’ like actions to de-capacitate them, de-centralization and a networks inherent ability to re-route information through any available channel becomes a foregone conclusion, and P2P, in its purest sense, takes on a whole new importance for me personally.

Based upon my conclusions this morning, I plan to spend considerable time in the coming weeks researching the work already done in the P2P space, but my initial sense is that furthering this technology is a very worthy pursuit.

Travel Log: Sunset Waters Curacao

November 01, 2001 By: Andre Category: Life

Planning to stay only one day and ending up there an entire week, Sunset Waters Curacao was like spending time at the Caribe version of the Shining Hotel.

Sunset Waters – Curacao

November 01, 2001 By: Andre Category: Musings

We hauled anchor around 11pm on Wednesday the 24th for the Western edge of Caracao. Kim and I had scoped out a resort along the ocean near an inlet where we thought we could anchor our boat for a night before going offshore for the 40 mile sail to Aruba.

The wind was blowing 20 to 25 knots, and we made good time, averaging 8 knots the entire way along the coastline. We arrived about 2 hours earlier than expected at around 4pm that afternoon.

The inlet is beautiful, and shared only by two other boats, one a good 65 foot Cat with all the toys, easily a $1.5M boat, potentially a charter boat.

While only intending to stay one night, we’ve been here a full week now, deciding to extend our stay as Kim completed here PADI diving instruction.

The diving here is some of the best I’ve seen anywhere in the world. It’s absolutely pristine. We’ve been diving twice now, once at around 10pm at night off the coast of the resort. We caught a 3 pound Lobster for the first time that night, but accidentally killed it on the way back to the boat. Both Craig and I have had an overwhelming sense of guilt about that one, as we ended up not eating it, afraid to ask for a pot big enough to cook it, and afraid about it having sat in warm water all night dead.

Yesterday, Craig and I went snorkeling off the coast about a half mile from the resort. About 30 minutes into our drift, Craig’s dingy was stolen by 2 locals who had the gonzo’s to swim out to our boat, tied to a mooring about 300 yards offshore. Craig started yelling at me from about 300 feet… I heard him underwater. I turned to see the boat at shore, with a guy still in it. Craig and myself both immediately started screaming, and swimming towards shore. They guys were trying to figure out how to get the engine off, but it was cabled to the boat (lucky thing). They’d look up periodically to measure where we were in the water, calculating the time they had left. When we were about 200 meters from shore, they wandered up the path, taking my backpack with them.

Luckily, I didn’t have my camera or phone in the backpack. They got off with my shirt, towel, drivers license, credit card, health card, Gator 40+ sunblock, Gucci sunglasses and OP sun-hat. I had maybe $2 in US currency, and around $15 in Venezuelan currency.

Upon retrieving the boat, we took it back to dock, and got in a car to see if we could catch the guys as they made their way from the beach along about a two mile road. While we never saw them, we did find most of my stuff strewn randomly in the cactus alongside the road. I retrieved my shirt, sunglasses, credit card, health card, towel and eye drops, but could not find the backpack, drivers license or hat.

We’re going to have to be more careful, but who would have thought that someone would swim out to a boat tied to a buoy and steel it right from under our noses, and with us still swimming around?

Next time, I’m locking my sandals, my backpack and my sunglasses to the boat. It’s like anything not locked or tied down will get stolen.

Oh well, a bit of an adventure anyways.

We’ve met these really nice people who work the beach here at the resort, and we’ve taken to playing tennis and volleyball with them every evening. Tomorrow we take off for Aruba, about a week later than we had expected.

We’re thinking that we’ll be home on or around the 10th of November. Not sure yet,  will depend on if we stay on the boat to Columbia and if we go to Costa Rica or not.